Mr. Mai lives with his wife in a small hamlet in central Vietnam. They have three children. Mrs. Mai earns enough selling rice porridge and noodles to feed the family and buy medicines for her elderly mother.
The two daughters fund their own education by selling drinks at construction sites, but Mr. Mai must find 1 million Dong (about $50) a month to pay for their son’s university fees. They can get a loan for half the sum, but Mr. Mai works as a wandering troubadour to earn the rest.
Though Mr. Mai is disabled he pushes himself through the markets of Central Vietnam on a wheeled trolley. In a week-long trip he can earn 200-300,000 Dong. “Everything is done for my children. I don’t want their lives to be as hard as mine.”
Many in Vietnam still live as subsistence farmers, and these rural communities are increasingly left behind by the breakneck speed of economic change. A generation gap exists even between people 10 years apart, and a class structure is quickly replacing communism’s social equality. This age and economic gap is evident even in the church.
Most evangelical Christians belong to the poorer sections of the society. The government even regards Protestant Christianity as a religion of the poor. How can the church reach out effectively to the increasingly diverse society in Vietnam?
- Pray for rural families struggling to make ends meet and those left out of the boom in wealth, education and opportunity.
- Pray for those young people who cannot afford education.
- Ask God to appoint wise and just governance through leaders who help improve the living conditions of ordinary Vietnamese people, especially those in rural areas.